In the year 491 A.D., an anonymous tanka recorded in what is now the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, “Man’yoshu, The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves,” contains the first recorded reference to a wabi bito, a desolate or forlorn person. The meaning of wabi bloomed as years passed, and in no field more vivacious than in the way of tea.
In Gallery Space of 8 Rockwell at Rockwell Makati, Galerie Joaquin in cooperation with Galerie Stephanie, presents a Vincent de Pio who is on a journey to become such a person who embodies wabi—a wabi bito.
He presents accumulations of spontaneity as the most authentic reflection of himself. Like cut flowers, he arranges images culled from Japanese culture—ancient, traditional and modern; American and local pop iconography; music, food; past experience; and his own internal universe.
In cutting and compositing these images, De Pio plucks from them particular truths, revelatory of himself as an artist, and of shared context: collective iconography, the bombardment of imagery —meaningful or otherwise—a bit like having a fever dream.
Unapologetically the works revolve around images that arouse awe: geisha and maiko in their high-contrast makeup; neon samurai amid rolling foamy waves; ukiyo-e, artillery, robots and Godzilla—all in a writhing psychedelic procession.
The energy in the canvas works is palpably electric, most notably in the spectacular piece “Party Nation.”
What is notable in “Wabibito,” however, is De Pio’s shift from canvas to folded paper or origami.
In Galerie Stephanie’s booth at Art Fair Philippines 2016, the series began with acrylic on paper folded into the traditional Japanese women’s garb, the kimono.
Now, de Pio expands his series into a wider scope of Japanese icons: cranes, crows, cicadas, samurai helmets. Unlike his canvas works, De Pio’s tessellations on folded paper are interrupted by shadows, transforming what was once purely two-dimensional into its own landscape.
By introducing a secondary form, i.e., the cicada, crow or crane, De Pio reframes the edges of the work, playing with composition and angle, even taking into account the angle from which the piece will be viewed, to breathe life into paper. —CONTRIBUTED
“Wabibito,” Vincent de Pio’s fifth solo exhibition and the first hosted by Galerie Joaquin and Galerie Stephanie, opens Nov. 16, at 8 Rockwell, Makati City. It runs until Nov. 23. Call Galerie Stephanie at 7091488 or Galerie Joaquin at 7239418; e-mail [email protected]